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Health reporters may be entering a season of scary airline food stories.

After years of paying too little attention to the quality and safety of food being served in airplanes, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been forced to take the issue more seriously.

Why?

Airline Food
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Breast Cancer: Not fun, but it works: preemptively removing the ovaries or breasts of women who carry either of the two BRCA breast cancer genes can help save the women’s lives even if they’ve already been diagnosed with cancer, according to a new study. The Los Angeles Times’ Thomas H. Maugh has the story.

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Hospital Bribery? A California man has been charged with bribery for trying to entice a hospital employee to accept would-be doctors into hard-to-get medical residency slots, according to a story in The Wall St. Journal. He allegedly paid the employee $15,000 as incentive. His lawyer calls him a “very generous guy.”

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Air Quality: Here’s one instance where wealth isn’t linked to health: ScienceDaily reports on a study finding that homes in both poor and affluent California communities had similarly high levels of endocrine disruptors. These disruptors can affect the endocrine system and lead to fertility and infant development problems among other health risks.

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Medical Errors: The Columbia Journalism Review lauds the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for publishing Jeremy Kohler’s and Blythe Bernhard’s  account of how difficult it was to investigate a Missouri surgeon who removed the wrong kidney from a patient in 2007.  

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Fight the Bite: California reports its first human West Nile virus cases of the season, in what appears to be a late start to a mild West Nile season nationally. What’s happening in your community? For some resources and ideas for your coverage, check out this Accidental Wonk post.

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Don’t spit out your fruitcake, but are the ingredients in it safe? A couple of recent federal auditor reports suggest that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration needs to step up its efforts to protect the nation’s food supply in two areas: tracing ingredients through the food supply chain and ensuring that food companies register with the federal agency.

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Each month, the San Francisco public radio station KQED airs an hour-long program called Health Dialogues that delves deeply into such topics as food safety, asthma, swine flu and environmental health.

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Original post on KQED's Bay Area Bites blog. Spinach, alfalfa sprouts, peanut butter, beef...almost weekly, FDA and USDA alerts fill my inbox with notices about food recalls due to Salmonella or E. Coli. How does our food supply get contaminated? And what safeguards exist to ensure that the foods we eat are produced in safe and sanitary conditions?

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